Bon Appétit Writers Show How They Use Up Old Food

Public Domain. Unsplash – A jar of pickled vegetables

A pinch of ingenuity can transform sad-looking ingredients into something desirable.

I love Bon Appétit because it writes about homey, sensible, peasant-style cooking with just as much ease as it does outrageously pretentious restaurant recipes with ingredient lists the length of my arm. The latest example of this is a slideshow compiled by BA staffers showing how they use up sad, wilting vegetables that have been forgotten in the bottom of the fridge – and we all have lots of those, don't we?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently said that curbing food waste is one of the most effective things an individual can do to help the climate crisis; and so equipping people with tangible solutions for using up as many of their groceries as possible is climate action.

The BA list is good. You can see the whole thing here, but I'd like to share some of my favorites below, grouping them into themes.


There are no excuses for wasting flavorful herbs, even if they look past their prime. As long as they're not rotten, turn them into chutney or pesto in a blender, which can be used as pasta sauce, salad dressings, or sandwiches spreads. Another suggestion is to make herb jam, cooking down large quantities of greens till they're saucy and richly flavored.


Anything can be 'taco-fied'! Add some heat and spices to shrivelled sweet potatoes, stale cooked rice, and wilted kale, and you've got an instantly delicious and hearty meal.


You're probably familiar with baba ghanouj, which blends roasted eggplant with tahini for a smoky, creamy dip, but apparently eggplant can be swapped out for boiled greens (leaves and/or stalks) and blended with lemon juice and garlic for a tasty dip.

Baked goods:

Sugar and flour are an excellent way to transform sad bananas, strawberries, zucchini, carrots, apples, and peaches into something truly delicious. Bake a loaf and snack without guilt.


Putting vegetables into a salty brine perks them up and turns them into something fresh and different. BA staffer Jesse Sparks writes, "I'll take kale stems and peppers that have seen better days and convert them something I look forward to eating, rather than tossing them and increasing the number of food waste woes." Do this with anything from cucumbers and red onions to Swiss chard stems and carrots and add to tacos, omelets, sandwiches, salads, or grain bowls.